On the Senate floor this morning, Senator Mike Enzi cited an “article” in the Wall Street Journal to make the case that premiums would go up as a result of health insurance reform. It turns out that the “article” that Enzi was citing is really an “editorial” that the Wall Street Journal editorial board published yesterday that uses health insurance industry “studies” to make the case that premiums would go up. While Enzi and his Republican colleagues insist on using insurance industry-funded studies to make the case against health insurance reform, they may want to consider relying on the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office analysis, an MIT study by respected economist Jonathan Gruber or “articles” in the New York Times and Washington Post that all found that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would reduce costs and lower premiums for families and small business.     RHETORIC: Enzi Cited Supposed “Article” By Wall Street Journal That Cited Health Insurance Industry Studies To Make The Case That Premiums Would Go Up. Sen. Mike Enzi: “To move on to a different topic, yesterday we were talking about costs. I hope that people take a look at a Wall Street Journal article from yesterday that says that the bill that raises prices but lowers costs does other miracles. We heard all day yesterday that this bill is going to save people a lot of money. Well, this article says ‘we’ve now reached the stage of the health care debate when all that matters is getting a bill passed. So all news is good news. Lower subsidies means lower deficits. The nonpolitical mind reels.'” … Sen Max Baucus: “I might inquire of my friend from Wyoming, that article that the Senator from quoting from about the costs in the Wall Street Journal, was that a news article or was that an editorial?” Sen. Mike Enzi: “It was confirmed by Brigham Young, and others.” [Senate Floor, 12/3/09]

  • Wall Street Journal Editorial Cited Health Insurance Studies To State That Premiums Would Go Up. “Moreover, CBO is almost certainly underestimating the cost increases. Based on its county-by-county actuarial data, the insurer WellPoint has calculated that Mr. Baucus’s bill would cause some premiums to triple in the individual market. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association came to similar conclusions.” [Wall Street Journal Editorial, 12/2/09]

REALITY: THE BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD STUDY WAS DEBUNKED BECAUSE IT LEFT OUT KEY PARTS OF ANALYSIS

Newer BCBS Study Is “Not As Deceptive As The Last One,” But Left Out Key Parts Of Analysis To Change The Outcome, Which Is Exactly What PriceWaterhouseCoopers Study Did Too. New Republic writer Jonathan Cohn wrote that insurance companies, “seem to be trying the same stunt again, with a brand new study. It’s not as deceptive as the last one. But it’s not going to win any points for intellectual honesty, either. This time the study’s sponsor is the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), rather than America’s Health Insurance Programs. The hired gun accounting firm is Oliver Wyman, instead of PriceWaterhouseCoopers. But the message is the same as before: Pass reform, as currently envisioned, and insurance premiums will go way upThe big problem with the PriceWaterhouseCoopers study, you may recall, was that it treated certain elements of reform in isolation, leaving out key parts that would have changed the outcome. Unbelievably–or, perhaps, all too believably–Oliver Wyman does the exact same thing.” [The New Republic, 10/15/09]

REALITY: THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WILL REDUCE COSTS AND LOWER PREMIUMS FOR FAMILIES AND SMALL BUSINESS

WP: CBO Said The Senate Health Care Bill “Would Leave Premiums Unchanged Or Slightly Lower For The Vast Majority Of Americans, Contradicting Assertions By The Insurance Industry That The Average Family’s Coverage Would Rise.” “As the Senate opened debate Monday on a landmark plan to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, congressional budget analysts said the measure would leave premiums unchanged or slightly lower for the vast majority of Americans, contradicting assertions by the insurance industry that the average family’s coverage would rise by thousands of dollars if the proposal became law.” [Washington Post, 12/1/09]

NYT: CBO Said That The Senate Health Care Bill Could “Significantly Reduce Costs For Many People Who Buy Health Insurance On Their Own” And Would Reduce Premiums For People Who Get Their Insurance Through Their Employers. “The Congressional Budget Office said Monday that the Senate health bill could significantly reduce costs for many people who buy health insurance on their own, and that it would not substantially change premiums for the vast numbers of Americans who receive coverage from large employers. … In groups with 50 or fewer employees, it said, unsubsidized premiums in 2016 would average $7,800 a year for individuals and $19,200 for families — scarcely any different from the amounts expected under current law. Of the 25 million people receiving coverage from small businesses, it said, 3 million would qualify for subsidies, which would reduce their premiums by an average of 8 percent to 11 percent. Large employers would generally not be eligible for such assistance. Their premiums in 2016 under the bill would average $7,300 for individual coverage and $20,100 for family coverage, the report said. Under current law, the comparable figures would be $7,400 for individual coverage and $20,300 for family coverage.” [New York Times, 12/1/09]

Ezra Klein: “Congressional Budget Office: Reform Will Bring Down The Cost Of Health-Care Insurance.” “The Congressional Budget Office released a report today estimating changes to average premiums under the Senate health-care bill. The report is going to prove very important, and is going to confuse a lot of people. So let’s be very, very clear about what it says. The CBO’s analysis broke the health-care system into three parts: individual, small group and large group. The small- and large-group markets account for 159 million Americans, and have very little change in premiums. But what change they see is in the right direction: Health-care reform is expected to reduce premiums in the large group market by about 1.5 percent, and in the small group market by about 0.5 percent. … So in the final analysis, the effect of reform on your typical individual market purchasers is to give them insurance that’s about 30 percent better but only 10 to 12 percent more expensive, and then assure them subsidies that will lower their payments by more than 50 percent. And if you’re in the small group or large group markets, your premiums are expected to fall a bit.” [Ezra Klein, Washington Post, 11/30/09]

TNR: Health Care Reform Will “In Fact Deliver Some Savings… [And] It Certainly Won’t Raise Premiums.” “If you get insurance through a large employer, then your insurance premiums should stay roughly the same, with perhaps a very small decrease.If you get insurance through a small employer, then, again, your insurance premiums should stay roughly the same, with perhaps an even smaller decrease. … If you get insurance on your own, then your premiums would probably go up, because you’d end up buying coverage that was more comprehensive. … But–and this is the key point–newly available federal subsidies will more than offset this increase. In other words, the majority of people buying coverage on their own will be able to spend less money and, at the same time, get better insurance. … But this analysis suggests reform can in fact deliver some savings–and that it certainly won’t raise premiums, as so many conservative critics have predicted.” [The New Republic, 11/30/09]

MIT Analysis: The Senate Health Care Bill Would Reduce Premium Prices In The Individual Health Insurance Market. “A new analysis by a leading MIT economist provides new ammunition for Democrats as the Senate begins formally debating the historic health-reform bill being pushed by President Barack Obama. The report concludes that under the Senate’s health-reform bill, Americans buying individual coverage will pay less than they do for today’s typical individual market coverage, and would be protected from high out-of-pocket costs. … Gruber concludes that people purchasing individual insurance would save an annual $200 (singles) to $500 (families) in 2009 dollars. And people with low incomes would receive premium tax credits that would reduce the price that they pay for health insurance by as much as $2,500 to $7,500.” [Politico, 11/28/09]

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